Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How NOT to respond to an employee’s pregnancy

If an employee with low sales numbers announces her pregnancy, do you:

  1. congratulate her and continue to treat her the same as before the announcement, or
  2. ask others, “What are we going to do about that?”

According to the plaintiff in Majer v. Lexion Medical, her employer chose option 2, and will pay the price for it.

When the court put that damning statement together with evidence that the employer did not terminate at least one non-pregnant employees with worse sales numbers than the plaintiff, it concluded that it had “serious doubts” about the legitimacy of the decision-making process that led to the termination. In more technical terms, it denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment, sending the case to a jury trial.

As long as managers and supervisors make these types of comments, I won’t worry too much about the viability of my chosen line of work.

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or